In the last entry, we spoke about the Basque children’s soccer team that was sent to Wales to flee the barbarism of the fascist insurgents. They were a part of the Basque War Children, which were sent to Great Britain. We told you about the team and, of course, their success in the competitions in the area.
But we also wanted to bring you a gem we found while reading the original article, written by Joe Harrison in a marvelous work on the British soccer website The Two Unfortunates. In it, he makes reference to the fascinating Cambria House Journal. Really, that’s the most appropriate adjective, fascinating, to describe a website that covers the stay of those thirty Basque children in southern Wales and the newspaper they wrote to raise funds. Because, lest we forget, their stay received no help from the British government; rather, they were supported by social movements, Christian groups, labor unions, and some political parties; that is, people with few resources who still felt the need for solidarity.
The house the children lived in for those two long years was named Cambria House, and it’s located in Caerleon, which is known for its archaeological importance, thanks to some iron age remains, and for still having buildings dating from the Roman Empire. But it’s also known as the birthplace of the real King Arthur, where he led his Romanized tribe of Silures in their fight against the Saxon invasion.
On the Caerleon web page, the Basque children who lived there share a section, the one on history, with King Arthur himself! They get their own chapter which, along with a description of their stay and photographs, also contains extracts of the newspaper, as well as the front pages of the editions they published. Some of the front pages are examples are an example of just how little the Welsh knew about where those children they were taking into their homes with open arms came from.
One, out of the many, interesting texts we’d like to point out is from May 1939 (automatic translation), talking about two letters received by the organization that had taken in the children, and the requests they made. Extraorindary.
Caerleon.net – Wales/Great Britain
CAMBRIA HOUSE,CAERLEON. HOME FOR BASQUE CHILDREN 1937 – 39
On the 23rd of May, 1937, four thousand Basque children arrived in Southampton. They had fled from Spain to escape the Spanish Civil War. The children, together with the 95 women teachers, 120 female helpers and 15 priests who accompanied them, spent their first two months under canvas near Southampton. From here they were dispersed to a variety of accommodations throughout the country. Two homes in South Wales took in the refugees: Sketty Hall, in Swansea, and Cambria House in Caerleon.